On my recent NettieBay expeditions in northern Michigan's Presque Isle County, we saw many interesting plants. The ones that follow are of particular interest if you do most of your flora-chasing in Ohio or points south. For the most part, these are plants of cool northern climates, and barely nip into Ohio, or don't at all in one case.
It's bird's-eye primrose, Primula mistassinica. I shut my camera's aperture down as much as I could in the shot above, to get enough depth of field to show the plant's basal rosette of leaves. There are no cauline, or stem, leaves, and the flowers are held perhaps six inches above the ground.
Plants nearly instantly began the process of invading the barren, frigid water body, and now, some 10,000 years later, we have a classic kettle bog. The remaining open water in the middle of the kettle is ringed by mats of Sphagnum moss laced together with a fascinating diversity of acid-loving bog plants. The bog mat, where we will go to see our next featured plant, is like a thin spongy veneer of plant life, often overlaying water. Break through, and you could be in for some real problems. Jump up and down on a good bog mat, and it'll set the substrate to rippling and quaking like a waterbed.
Eventually the lake will completely fill with plant matter, its ultimate fate to be conversion into woodland.
There were a great many of these bogbeans festooning the bog's mat, and is often the case, as it was here, one must work hard to place themselves in its company. In our case, it meant threading through a damp white cedar swamp, ducking and weaving between low-hanging branches all the while taking pains to avoid miry wallows. Once on the mat, even more care must be taken to prevent a misstep that might send one slipping through the peat.
It was well worth the effort it took to see all of these plants, though, and of course in the process we saw a great many birds and other fauna and flora of the north.